Category Archives: Food

Naptime Craft: Pennant Cupcake Toppers

People, these are adorable. Adorable, and can be completed in one naptime, even if your little monkeys think “nap” means “twenty minute power charge” (AHEM, Baby Jake. Now give your mama a break!).

Here’s what I used:

  • Double-stick tape
  • Craft knife and scissors (or just scissors is fine, too)
  • Pretty paper: I used scrapbook paper I had left over from other things, but you could use wrapping paper, wall paper, construction paper… Endless options!
  • Toothpicks

Here’s what I did:

NOTE: Obviously, this isn’t the only way to do these, but it was definitely faster than other ways I’ve tried! And around here, faster is good!

  1. Cut long strips of paper a little wider than your tape.
  2. Cut a loooooong piece of tape: you want it to go the whole length of your little paper strip. Now stick that tape to your paper.
  3. Cut the long strip into shorter sections. (Mine were about 3 inches long; I eyeballed it.)
  4. Fold them in half with the toothpick in the middle. (Don’t fold them in half and then try to put the toothpick in afterwards!)
  5. Cut a little triangle out of the end of your little flag, if you like.
  6. All done! So cute! Throw a party!

 

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Filed under Food, Holidays, Just for Fun, Naptime Craft, Projects and Crafty Things, The Boys

(Baked Good) of the Week: Banana Bread

I do not like bananas. They gross me out. But I  L O V E  banana bread, in an all-caps-italicized-and-bolded kind of way. I could eat entire loaves of the stuff. We happened to have a few (very) overripe bananas in our freezer, so Rich decided I cheerfully volunteered to make banana bread. I started with this recipe  and added a few ingredients: cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and walnuts. I also sprinkled the top of the loaf with raw sugar for a crispy, delicious crust.

BANANA BREAD

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas (I used 6 very overripe bananas)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (OPTIONAL)
  • 2-3 teaspoons raw sugar (OPTIONAL)

And then:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease or spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten (don’t overmix!). Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with 2-3 teaspoons of raw sugar. (I used 3 packets.)
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
  4. Serve warm with real butter. (I am adamant about this: it has to be real butter.)

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Filed under Food, Meal of the Week

Make-It and Give-It Recipe: Cinnamon Chip Bars

I’m going to start by saying right off: this is not my recipe. It’s from Pat, a woman at our church. And it is delicious. It also has just four ingredients. F O U R. It is so easy, and you’ll eat them until you ruin your dinner and have a killer stomachache. Or so I’ve heard (cough).

Here’s what you need:

  • A box of Betty Crocker cinnamon swirl cake mix
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • 2 eggs
  • a generous handful of white chocolate chips
  1. Mix the cake mix (plus the cinnamon packet in the box) with the eggs and oil.
  2. Mix in the white chocolate chips. 
  3. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray, then press the batter into the pan with a spatula.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until they aren’t all soupy in the middle.

Now grab a cup of black coffee or a glass of milk to balance out all of the sweet cinnamon-y goodness you’re about to inhale, and go ruin your dinner!

To give these as a gift, let them cool, then cut into even squares. Wrap a few in waxed paper and attach a cute tag (like maybe one of these!) with some yarn or twine.

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Filed under 25 Days of Christmas, Food, Holidays

Make-It and Give-It Recipe: Earl Gray Tea Cookies

When I curl up with a book, which is not as often anymore as I would like, I love to have a cup of tea with me. Something about tea is so… readerly. These cookies are not only the perfect accompaniment to said cup of tea, but are so wonderful in their own right: light, buttery, a little aromatic. Also, you make them entirely in the food processor, which is a definite bonus. I love anything that uses minimal dishes and upper body strength! You can use a different kind of tea, if Earl Gray is not your cup of tea (COUGH COUGH. Sorry for the pun. It was just sitting there, begging to be punned!). The Earl Grey version are still my favorite, but it’s fun also to mix up what kind of tea you put in; I’ve done an herbal strawberry and a cinnamon tea that were both nice.

(image from here)

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

(Recipe from The Kitchn)

Here’s what you need: 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves (rip open a couple tea bags- it actually is better than the expensive loose leaf)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pulse together all the dry ingredients in a food processor until the tea leaves are pulverized.

Add vanilla, water, and butter. Pulse together until a dough is formed. Form the dough into a log onto a piece of wax or parchment paper. Wrap the paper around and roll the log smooth. Freeze now, or chill for at least 30 minutes. (I make a few batches, freeze them, then cut off a few and bake them up whenever we want cookies.)

When chilled, slice the log into 1/3 inch thick pieces. Place on baking sheets and bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

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Filed under 25 Days of Christmas, Food, Holidays

Make-It Recipe: Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce

Since this is Food Lover Week here in the 25 Days of Christmas (what, you didn’t know it’s Food Lover Week? Well, now you do.), I have a fun, simple recipe for you that’s also delicious and a little fancy. Who doesn’t love simple AND fancy?

I’ve been the designated family cranberry-sauce maker for YEARS. And I have put up a Major Fuss about making it… just about every year since I was maybe 11. But not this year! I know today is Thanksgiving, so you’re probably too late to make it this go-round, but it’s also super delicious as a pseudo-jam or for Christmas dinner as well. Trust me, though, it is so very worth it. 

Here’s what you need: 

  • 12 ounces of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Here’s what I did:

  1. Wash the cranberries.
  2. Bring the orange juice and sugar to a boil.
  3. Add the cranberries and return to a boil. Stir occasionally until most of the berries have popped.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate until it’s time for dinner. DEVOUR.

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Need to catch up on any of the 25 Days of Christmas you might have missed? Here they are:

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Make-It Gift: Felted Wool Mug Cozy

I drink a lot of hot beverages—coffee, tea, cocoa, hot water with lemon and honey—so I have two major problems. Either the drink gets cold too quickly, or I burn the tar out of my poor little fingers trying to hold on to a cup that’s too hot. Enter: the mug cozy!

(Pardon the blurry photos… I’m using my parents’ camera and apparently it has a steeper learning curve than I realized!)

This project is so, so simple. You need to know how to single crochet in straight rows; that’s all! My mug cozy is felted, which is one extra, easy step to make it even cozier and smooshier; if you want to felt yours, be sure to use yarn that is 100% wool. Otherwise, use whatever you have on hand and skip that step.

Here’s what you need: 

  • yarn (I used Stitch Nation’s Full O’ Sheep in Poppy)
  • a crochet hook in the appropriate size for your yarn (mine is a J-10)
  • a needle with an eye large enough to fit your yarn
  • 2 buttons (be sure your needle can fit through their holes!)

And here’s what I did: 

ch=chain | sc= single crochet | sts= stitches 

Row 1: Ch 14 + 1 (the last one is your turning chain; your rows will be 14 sts long).
Row 2: *Sc in each ch (14 sts).
Row 3-44: Repeat from *. Go through your last stitch once more so it doesn’t unravel. Weave in all your ends.

My finished cozy, after felting (see below) is 3 inches high x 10 inches long.

For felting: 

Machine wash the cozy in hot water/ cold rinse with a very small amount of detergent. (Alternatively, hand wash in very hot water with a small amount of detergent, agitating with your hands or a wooden spoon, then rinse thoroughly with very cold water.) Block it into shape and let air dry flat.

Adding buttons: 

Sew on two buttons to one end of the long rectangle, leaving between 1/4—1/2 inch from the edges of the cozy. On the other end, sew two loops in the same position as the buttons so you can button it closed. (Mine are just a single piece of the same yarn, knotted on the back of the piece, the knotted again on the front so they don’t slip around.)

Other fun stuff: 

  • Add felt or crocheted flowers
  • Embroider a monogram
  • Use mismatched buttons, or one giant button
  • Change yarn colors once, twice, or a bunch of times for fun color-blocking or stripes
  • Give with a fun mug and a bag of coffee, some good tea, or hot chocolate on a stick!

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Need to catch up on any of the 25 Days of Christmas you might have missed? Here they are:

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Filed under 25 Days of Christmas, Food, Holidays, Projects and Crafty Things

Make-It and Give-It Recipe with Free Printable: Homemade Masala Chai

Here’s a little chai fact for you:chai” just means “tea”. “Masala” means “spiced”, so when most people say they like chai, they mean masala chai.

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I love me a good chai latte. The problem is, I am extremely picky about my chai. I haven’t ever had any better than from Cafe Udipi in Tampa: it’s the real deal. It’s not syrupy sweet or overly milky; it is spicy, fragrant, and balanced. This recipe is oh-so-close to that wonderful chai experience (but not quite the same, because there is no Indian lunch buffet with it), and easy to make at home. It also makes a sweet gift for a tea drinker; the whole spices are beautiful. I would put the spices into a little muslin bag (mine are called “spice bags” or reusable tea bags; you could also sew up your own) with a homemade tag and instructions.

Here’s how I make it (Makes 2 cups):

  • 4 whole green cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 tsp. loose black tea (or 3 black tea bags)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk

Lightly crush the first four spices with a mortar and pestle (or rolling pin). Put in a small saucepan with the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it boils, turn off the heat and let the tea steep until it’s the desired strength (approximately 5-10 minutes), and pour through a fine mesh strainer. Pour into 2 cups and sweeten with honey or sugar.

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For Gifting:

As a gift, place all the whole spices, plus the ginger and tea, into the muslin tea bag. Close tightly and attach printable tag (see below). Give with printable Masala Chai instructions.

To print:

Click on the image of the labels. It should open in a window by itself. You may need to click it again to make it full-sized (it’ll probably be larger than your screen) and save it. Then print, print, print away!

The fine print:

This printable is free for your personal use and enjoyment, and is not to be altered, sold, or used for profit.

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Need to catch up on any of the 25 Days of Christmas you might have missed? Here they are:

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Filed under 25 Days of Christmas, Food, Holidays, Projects and Crafty Things